Thursday, August 4, 2011

Springwater Trail

A cursory inspection of the Junior Woodchuck Guidebook says to take weather into account when riding and be sure to get in at least one ride a week during the summer.

Never one to question the vast, incontrovertible instruction of the mighty tome of wisdom, Bob Tres and I decided to ride the Springbrook Trail. The first time we did this we both experienced complete bonkdom, with legs unable to move, arms that had fallen off and a desire to never experience this again.

The second time we rode it we actually hit the 50 mile mark, a moment I am still proud of. At that point our distances were increasing by leaps and bounds.

But the I-phone has a Map My ride function, so we thought we would try it again.

This time we picked a very warm day and started out.

Due to the crowded conditions we had to pause to check the Junior Woodchuck Guide to Cycling. Much to my surprise, it did NOT in fact tell us to increase speed, weave maniacally in and out of pedestrian and other biker traffic, and bunny hop the back tires after striking someone with our front tires.

Well, any good Junior Woodchuck knows when their is a discrepancy between his intentions and the Guidebook to always obey the Guidebook. So we proceeded at a rather modest place for several miles until the crowds thinned out.

Ironically, this allowed us to also obey the Junior Woodchuck Guidebook about starting slow and allowing time for a warm-up.

I have never been good at that and, when first starting a ride, I almost always feel fresh and powerful, with the result my pace tends to be...what is a good word for the thought "unreasonable, unfair and downright idiotic"? Ah, I have it...aggressive.

Well, with our forced warm-up, we then got to the trail proper. And the ride proceeded at a good pace. In fact, the only thing slowing us down was stop after stop after stop after stop for roads.

We ate up the miles, made the tun and headed back.

The Junior Woodchuck Guidebook says to stay hydrated on long rides. I took a 20 oz water and supplemented that with a soda. Robert Tres took two larger liquids and refilled them with water as an intelligent rider would do.

On a completely unrelated note, Robert Tres seemed to get stronger as the ride wore on while I wore down earlier and quicker.

Anyhow, coming out of the turn-around, we decided to open a can of whoop-smurf on the candy trail. I was blasting along at slightly over 20 miles per hour for 4ish miles, then we dropped the speed and took turns drafting off each other for a while.

Even though our speed was anywhere from 1 to 7 miles faster coming back than going in, we got passed by two pairs of riders.

The first caught us at the light. And they then showed the difference between solid recreational riders like Robert and I and REAL bike riders.

This short, slightly built woman blasted off the line at a speed conservatively estimated to be 3 parsecs past light speed. She could have outdone the Millenium Falcons' time on the kessel Spice run.

Once they got up to speed, her partner took the lead and she drafted.

In short, she spends the energy getting the explosive start, then rests while he maintains speed. Pretty clever.

At the next light, I blasted off behind them, neglecting to mention my plan to Robert in clear violation of Junior Woodchuck Guide to Cycling etiquette...but he kept right up anyway.

And we kept up with them for about a mile. However, we had a goal of stopping at a station for water and I knew I would run out of steam in another mile or two, so I deliberately throttled back to a reasonable speed and in seconds they were gone.

The other group that passed us was some guy about 19' tall. I just remember hearing "on your left" and looking over at kneecaps...then looking up, and up, and up to see this guy whose seat was about level with my head...and I sit upright.  He was not working at all and just blew by us.

With all that, despite being more fatigued by far on this ride than the much tougher Banks-Vernonia trail, we stayed above 15 ph almost all the way back to the car, a very impressive performance for us.

Great ride, but big mistake; the sun actually gave me a burn on my knees and arms. Next time we will ride the Banks-Vernonia when we need shade and this one...well...seldom because it just is not as good a ride because of all the interruptions and forced stops that break up the rhythm.


  1. Oooh, ow! Knee burns are the worst. Sideburns can be almost as bad ;)

  2. yes...but when you shave the sideburns too can look goofy